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India defers FTA talks with EU

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New Delhi: India on Wednesday announced putting off negotiations with the European Union on the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) that was scheduled to take place this month, on grounds of the ban imposed by the EU on importing 700 drugs from Hyderabad-based GVK Biosciences.

www.cbp.gov
Photo Credit: www.cbp.gov

“Government defers the proposed talks between the chief negotiators on India-EU Broad-based Investment and Trade Agreement (EU-BTIA),” the commerce ministry said in a release here.

“This decision has been taken as the government of India is disappointed and concerned by the action of EU in imposing legally binding ban on the sale of around 700 pharma products clinically tested by GVK Biosciences,” the ministry said.

“The government has engaged on the issue with various EU regulators over past 8 months,” it added.

The trade negotiators from both sides were expected to meet here on August 28 to resume the talks stalled in 2013.

“It is pertinent to mention that most of these drugs are already in EU market for many years without any adverse pharmacovigilance report from any member state,” the statement said.

On Tuesday, the EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the meeting of the chief negotiators will focus on taking stock of negotiations.

The EU-India free trade talks have failed to reach an agreement over issues pertaining to lowering of tariffs on Indian automobiles and wines and spirits.

The EU ban on over 700 drugs, imposed last week and accepted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), is expected to be effective from August 21.

Earlier this year, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said India was “ready to talk” with the European Union (EU) on the proposed bilateral free trade agreement.

“I have assured the EU ambassador and ambassadors of individual EU countries that we are ready to talk with the European community. They have been our traditional trading partners,” Sitharaman had told reporters here.

Negotiations on the FTA between India and the EU, were launched in June 2007 but have been facing hurdles with both sides having differences on crucial issues.

No negotiation was held after both sides failed to bridge disagreements in May 2013 on crucial issues including data security status for the IT sector.

The EU-India bilateral trade stood at $101.5 billion in 2013-14.

(IANS)

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India Says Pakistan’s Links with Pulwama Attack Clear For All to See

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits

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Arun Jaitley
"The most favoured nation status which has been granted to Pakistan stands withdrawn.", says Jaitley. Pixabay

India has rejected Pakistan Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua’s claims denying her country’s links to the Pulwama terror attack, saying that JeM, which claimed responsibility for the attack on Thursday, is based in Pakistan, and the “links are clear and evident and for all to see”.

The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson on Friday termed as “preposterous” the demand for an investigation, saying there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

The spokesperson said India has not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on bilateral relations and it has been sheltering terrorists and terror organisations such as JeM. He said Islamabad has not taken any action against such groups despite international demands.

India also demanded that Pakistan take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control to create a conducive atmosphere in the region free of terror.

The spokesperson’s response came over Pakistan Foreign Secretary’s briefing rejecting Pakistan’s involvement in the terror attack on a paramilitary convoy in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least 45 troopers. Janjua met envoys of P-5 countries late on Friday.

The spokesperson said JeM has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the attack was a matter of “grave concern” and it had been condemning “heightened acts of violence in the (Kashmir) Valley”. Pixabay

“The organisation and its leadership are located in Pakistan. LeT and other terror groups have welcomed the news of the attack. These groups are also based in Pakistan. Pakistan cannot claim that it is unaware of their presence and their activities.

“They have not taken any action against these groups despite international demands, especially against groups and individuals proscribed by the UN and other countries. The links to Pakistan are clear and evident for all to see. Its own Ministers have shared the same podium with UN proscribed terrorists,” the spokesperson said.

He said there was audio-visual material linking JeM to the terror attack.

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“The demand for an investigation is preposterous when there is a video of the suicide bomber declaring himself a member of the JeM. There are also other audio-visual and print material linking JeM to the terrorist attack. We have therefore no doubt that the claim is firmly established,” the spokesperson said.

He said while there are claims to offer dialogue from Pakistan, it continues to shelter terror outfits.

“We have not seen any constructive approach from Pakistan on relations with India. What we have noticed however, are claims to offer dialogue on the one hand, while sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terrorist organisations such as JeM on the other,” the spokesperson added. (IANS)